Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Braving the storm in Phnom Penh—really not that difficult.

The rainy season in Cambodia is like an American summer - it goes from June to about September. The downpours usually come really suddenly. You may be complaining about the blistering heat one minute and the next minute, you could find yourself in the middle of a lightning storm. (Fun fact about Cambodia: Do you know that in 2011 alone, there has been 75 - count 'em, SEVENTY-FUCKING-FIVE - people dead from being struck by lightning?) My friend, Emily, and I were looking for a Khmer class two weeks ago when it started pouring, so we took shelter under a random building.

There was a teensy bit of flooding, but 15 minutes later, the skies were clear again.

Emily playing a drum she bought for her sister's birthday at Toul Tom Poung (Russian Market AKA My favorite place in Phnom Penh.)


Jana said...

this year isn't even over and you already have 75 dead?

I think being hit by lightning is something people everywhere but US worry about. I remember being little and being taught all the rules of what to do in a thunderstorm. I also remember that every house and building had this huge metal box on the side with a lightning bolt on it - they are called the lightning catchers.

The best story, though, is about the time that I lost my key on the soccer field behind my building and had to go look for it in the storm - I found it because the lightning struck it. It hit like 3 meters (10 feet) away from me. It was so scary but exciting t the same time.

denesteak said...

Woah, that is a good story. Was the key smoking or like black when you got it?? Is the concept of the lightning catcher like the rod we have on top of our houses in the US? (PS. love that you converted meters into feet for me haha)

Yea, I think a part of it is the lack of education. Like, all the news stories always have some farmer using his metal plowing equipment during a storm, or adjusting some thing on his metal/tin roof. People are also reluctant to leave their metal equipment when it rains in the provinces, like usually the rural farming areas.

75 does seem a bit excessive though.

blakspring said...

i love that photo, with those gorgeous old colonial houses. and those storms are fierce but end quickly. damn, i want to go back to cambodia one day. it really has a special place in my heart :) i'm living vicariously through you, and i'm so excited that you had this opportunity and took it.